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Dozen plus junked vehicles cited; West Bank sweep planned in 2018

LAPLACE — Seventeen vehicles were tagged during a recent code enforcement sweep coordinated by Planning and Zoning to target junked vehicles and promote beautification of St. John the Baptist Parish.

The number was reduced to 16 after a resident disputed the violation and a review of an ordinance adopted in May revealed the vehicle in question did not classify as junked.

Planning and Zoning Director Alexandra Carter said her team is taking a thorough approach, reviewing the code on a case-by-case basis to ensure vehicles are properly tagged.

Conducted in Council Districts II and III, the sweep targeted wrecked, rusted, burned, abandoned and inoperative vehicles to improve quality of life and remove neighborhood blight detrimental to property values.

Carter said a few of the tagged vehicles have already been removed voluntarily.

Parish action will be taken against individuals who do not remove their vehicles within a designated timeframe.

District III Councilman Lennix Madere Jr. said he hasn’t heard residents complain or give much feedback about the recent sweep, adding the only response was it was overdue.

District II Councilwoman Julia Remondet said the code enforcement sweeps have been effective, and the community is responding with less resistance than in previous months.

“When they first started doing the sweeps, people were up in arms, but now people are understanding it’s a normal part of living in a community,” Remondet said.

“We’re not as rural as we used to be, so it makes a difference in how things look in the community. It’s a very positive thing.”

Remondet said she hasn’t received any complaints this time around.

Instead, one or two individuals called prior to the sweep for direction on how to clean up their yards and avoid being tagged.

More calls and community response followed the code enforcement sweep held over the summer, according to Carter.

She isn’t concerned about the decreased response, instead considering it a positive indicator that residents are becoming aware and compliant with code enforcement measures.

After the initial sweep, Planning and Zoning published a list of common questions and answers on the St. John the Baptist Parish website to help residents prepare for sweeps.

“I think we are seeing fewer calls because people are becoming more familiar with the sweep, which I would say is a win,” Carter said.

She said each sweep requires a different plan of action depending on how widespread the target area is, and the Reserve sweep focused on sites identified as containing violations.

During the sweep, inspectors noticed other sites in Districts II and III that could potentially be violations, and Carter noted the process is ongoing.

“We don’t want people to be ticketed, but we do want them to comply and respect their neighbors,” Carter said.

Another sweep is being planned for the first quarter of 2018 on the West Bank.

However, Carter said residents shouldn’t wait for code enforcement sweeps to clean yards or remove abandoned vehicles because violations can be reported on any given day.

For more information, visit sjbparish.com/code or call Planning and Zoning at 985-651-5565.